Regulation for Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal of Sexual Harassment of Women Employees and Students

As enshrined in the Preamble to the Constitution of India, “equality of status and opportunity” must be secured for all its citizens; equality of every person under the law is guaranteed by Article 14 of the Constitution.

At KIIT, we are committed to conducting and governing ourselves with ethics, transparency and accountability and to this, we have developed governance structures, practices and procedures that ensure that ethical conduct at all levels is promoted across our value chain. It is thus in acknowledgement of and consonance with these values, that we are dedicated to ensuring that the work environment is conducive to fair, safe and harmonious relations, based on mutual trust and respect.

We also strive to guarantee a safe and welcoming environment to all the employees and students of the University. Discrimination and harassment of any type is strictly prohibited. We wish to promote and maintain this culture to ensure that associates of the University do not engage in practices that are abusive in any form or manner whatsoever.

KIIT aims to provide a safe working environment and prohibits any form of sexual harassment. Hence any act of sexual harassment or related retaliation against or by any associate is unacceptable.

Applicability

This policy will extend to all employees and students of the University including those employed on regular, temporary, ad-hoc or daily wage basis, either directly or through an agent, including a contractor, whether for the remuneration or not, or working on a voluntary basis or otherwise,

Definition of Sexual Harassment

  1. “An unwanted conduct with sexual undertones if it occurs or which is persistent and which demeans humiliates or creates hostile and intimidating environment or is calculated to induce submission by actual or threatened adverse consequences and includes any one of more or all the following unwelcome acts or behaviour, namely :
    1. Any unwelcomed physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature,
    2. Demand or request for sexual favours
    3. Making sexually coloured remarks
    4. Physical contact and advances, or
    5. Showing pornography
  2. Any one or more than one or all of the following circumstances, if it occurs or is present in relation or connected with any behaviour that has explicit or implicit sexual undertones
    1. Implied or explicit promise of preferential treatment as quid pro quo for sexual favours,
    2. Implied or explicit threat of detrimental treatment in conduct of work
    3. Implied or explicit threat about the present or future status of the person concerned
    4. Creating an intimidating offensive or hostile learning environment
    5. Humiliating treatment likely to affect the health, safety dignity or physical integrity of the person concerned.

Prevention Action

KIIT will take reasonable steps to ensure prevention of sexual harassment at work which may include

  • Publicly notify the provision against sexual harassment and ensure their wide dissemination,
  • Organise training programmes or as the case may be, workshops for the officers, functionaries, faculty and students, as indicated in the SAKSHAM Report of the UGC to sensitize them and ensure knowledge and awareness of the rights, entitlements and responsibilities enshrined in the Act and under these regulations,
  • Act decisively against all gender based violence perpetrated against employees and students of all sexes recognising that primarily women employees and students and some male students and students of the third gender are vulnerable to many forms of sexual harassment and humiliation and exploitation,
  • Publicly commit itself to a zero tolerance policy towards sexual harassment,
  • Reinforce its commitment to creating its campus free from discrimination, harassment, retaliation or sexual assault at all levels,
  • Create awareness about what constitutes sexual harassment including hostile environment harassment and quid pro quo harassment,
  • Include in its prospectus and display prominently at conspicuous places or Notice Boards the penalty and consequences of sexual harassment and make all sections of the Intuitional Community aware of the information on mechanism put in place of redressal of complaints pertaining to sexual harassment, contact details of the members of Internal Complaints Committee, complaints procedure and so on.
  • Inform employees and students of the recourse available to them if they are victims of sexual harassment,
  • Orgnaise regular orientation or training programme for the members of the ICC to deal with complaints, steer the process of settlement or conciliation, etc. with sensitivity,
  • Proactively move to curb all forms of harassment of employees and students whether it is from those in dominant power or hierarchical relationship within HEIs or owing to intimate partner violence or from peers or from elements outside of the geographical limits of the University
  • Be responsible to bring those guilty of sexual harassment against its employee and students to book and initiate all proceedings as required by law and also put in place mechanisms and redressal systems like the ICC to curb and prevent sexual harassment on its campus.
  • Treat sexual harassment as a misconduct under service rules and initiate action for misconduct if the perpetrator is an employee,
  • Ensure compliance with all provisions of these regulations, including appointment of Internal Complaint Committee.
  • The rules, regulations or any such other instrument by which ICC shall function have to be updated and revised from time to time as court judgements, and other laws and rules will continue to revise the legal framework within which the Act is to be implemented.
  • The recommendations of the ICC shall be implemented in a timely manner and all possible resources should be provided to the functioning of ICC.
  • Counselling services must be institutionalised and shall have well trained full time Counsellor.
  • Adequate and well trained security including a good proportion or balance of women security staff shall be employed.

Grievance Redressal Mechanism

The institution shall constitute an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) with an inbuilt mechanism for gender sensitization against sexual harassment.

  1. The ICC shall have the following composition :
    1. A Presiding Officer who shall be a woman faculty member employed at a senior level (not below the rank of Professor) nominated by the Vice Chancellor -Presiding Person
    2. Two faculty members and two non-teaching employees, preferably committed to the cause of women or who have had experience in social work or have legal knowledge, nominated by the Vice Chancellor.
    3. Three student representative, if the matter needs the involvement of students
    4. One member from non-government organisations or association committed to the cause of women or a person familiar with the issues relating to discrimination.
  2. At least one-half of the total members of the ICC shall be women.
  3. Senior Administrative positions such as Vice Chancellor, Pro Vice Chancellors, Rector, Deans and Heads of Department, etc, shall not be members of ICC in order to ensure autonomy of their functioning.
  4. The member appointed form amongst the non-governmental organisations or associations shall be paid such fees or allowances for holding the processing of the Internal Committee, by the Executive Authority as may be prescribed.
  5. Responsibility of Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) :
    The Internal Complaints Committee shall :
    1. Provide assistance if an employee or a student chooses to file a complaint with the police.
    2. Provide mechanisms of dispute redressal and dialogue to anticipate and address issues through just and fair conciliation without undermining complainant’s rights and minimize the need for purely punitive approaches that lead to further resentment, alienation or violence.
    3. Protect the safety of the complainant by not divulging the person’s identity and provide the mandatory relief by way of sanctioned leave or relaxation of attendance requirement or transfer to another department or supervisor as required during the pendency of the complaint or also provide for the transfer of the offender,
    4. Ensure that victims or witnesses are not victimised or discriminated against while dealing with complaints of sexual harassment, and
    5. Ensure prohibition of retaliation or adverse action against a covered individual because the employee or the student is engaged in protected activity.
  6. Process for making complaintAn aggrieved person is required to submit a written complaint to the ICC within three months from the date of the incident and in case of a series of incidents within a period of three months from the date of the last incident.Provided that where such Complaint cannot be made in writing, the Presiding Officer or any Member of the Internal Committee shall render all reasonable assistance to the person for making the complaint in writing.

    Friends, relatives, Colleagues, Co-students, Psychologist or any other associate of the victim may file the complaint in situations where the aggrieved person is unable to make a complaint on account of physical or mental in capacity or death.

  7. Process of Conducting Inquiry
    1. The ICC shall, upon receipt of the complaint, send one copy of the complaint to the respondent within a period of seven days of such receipt.
    2. Upon receipt of the copy of the complaint, the respondent shall file his or her reply to comply to the complaint along with the list of documents, names and addresses of witnesses within a period of ten days.
    3. The inquiry has to be completed within a period of ninety days from the receipt of the complaints. The inquiry report with recommendations, if any has to be submitted within ten days from the completion of the inquiry to the Vice Chancellor of the University. Copy of the findings or recommendations shall also be served on both parties to the complaint.
    4. The Vice Chancellor of the University shall act on the recommendations of the committee within a period of thirty days from the receipt of the inquiry report, unless an appeal against the findings is filed within that times by either party.
    5. An appeal against the findings or / recommendations of the ICC may be filed by either party before the Vice Chancellor within a period of thirty days from the date of recommendations.
    6. If the Vice Chancellor of the University decides not to act as per the recommendation of the ICC, then it shall record written reasons for the same to be conveyed to ICC and both the parties to the proceedings. If on the other hand it is decided to act as per the recommendations of the ICC, then a show cause notice, answerable within in ten days, shall be served on the party against whom action is decided to be taken. The Vice Chancellor of the University shall proceed only after considering the reply or hearing the aggrieved person.
    7. The aggrieved party may seek conciliation in order to settle the matter. No monetary settlement should be made as a basis of conciliation. The University shall facilitate a conciliation process through ICC as the case may be, once it is sought. The resolution of the conflict to the full satisfaction of the aggrieved party wherever, possible, is preferred to purely punitive intervention.
    8. The identities of the aggrieved party or victim or the witness or the offender shall not be made public or kept in the public domain especially during the process of inquiry.
  8. Interim Redressal
    1. Transfer the complainant or the respondent to another section or department to minimise the risks involved in contact or interaction, if such a recommendation is made by the ICC,
    2. Grant leave to the aggrieved with full protection of status and benefits for a period up to three months,
    3. Restrain the respondent from reporting on or evaluating the work or performance or tests or examination of the complainant,
    4. Ensure that offenders are warned to keep a distance from the aggrieved and wherever necessary, if there is definite threat, restrain their entry into the campus,
  9. Punishment
    Anyone found guilty of sexual harassment shall be punished in accordance with the service rules of the University, if the offender is an employee.

    Where the respondent is a student, depending upon the severity of the offence, the University may :

    1. Withhold privileges of the student such as access to the library, auditoria, hostel, transportation, scholarship, allowance and identity card,
    2. Suspend or restrict entry into the campus for specific period,
    3. Expel and strike off name from the rolls of the institution, including denial or readmission, if the offence so warrants,
    4. Award reformative punishments like mandatory counselling and or performance of community services,
  10. Compensation

    The aggrieved person is entitled to the payment of compensation. The University shall issue direction for payment of the compensation recommended by the ICC and accepted by the Vice Chancellor which shall be recovered from the offender. The compensation payable shall be determined on the basis of

    • Mental trauma, pain, suffering and distress caused to the aggrieved person,
    • The loss of career opportunity due to the incident of sexual harassment,
    • The medical expenses incurred by the victim for physical, psychiatric treatment,
    • The income and status of the alleged perpetrator and victim, and
  11. Action against frivolous complaints

    If the ICC concludes that the allegations made were false, malicious or the complaint was made knowing it to be untrue, or forged or misleading information has been provided during the inquiry, the complainant shall be liable to be punished as per the provisions underlying in Point no.9 of the regulations.

    However, the mere inability to substantiate a complaint or provide adequate proof will not attract attention against the complainant, malicious intent on the part of the complainant shall not be established without an inquiry.

The University reiterates its commitment to providing its women employee and girls students, a workplace/academic ambience free from harassment / discrimination and where every employee is treated with dignity and respect.